Saturday 17 January 2015

Time and the angels - speculations

It seems to me that Time must run differently, at different speeds, on Earth and in Heaven; for Men and for Angels.

Human life on earth seems very slow, detailed, treacley compared to what we suppose is the swift, frictionless, effortless life of the Angels and in Heaven. That would suggest that more can happen in one second in Heaven, than in one second on earth.


Furthermore, it would seem necessary that Angels must be able to do a lot in a small interval of earth time; and also human visionary experiences may take a few seconds of earth time, but contain many hours of subjective experiences.

This means that for Angels living in Heavenly Time, a short human life must seem vastly long and almost endless, changing only slowly, and crammed with minute details.


The opposite notion, that a long human life is a mere eye-blink for an Angelic being, would seem to trivialize, and make pointless human incarnate life - but that surely cannot be correct! There must be a reason for mortal incarnate life, it is extremely important, and for the business of living - so surely it cannot be perceived from Heaven as almost 'over before it had begun'.


It seems to follow that for Angels observing life on earth, and presumably for the other denizens of Heaven, our mortal lives must seem to be extremely long, vast in subjective duration, almost endless...

When a pre-mortal spirit embarks on an incarnate human life, this must seem like a huge 'interstellar' mission, fraught with hazards and opportunities - and perhaps to our family and friends now in Heaven this is also the case? - that they are waiting for what seems like great tracts of extremely differentiated time to meet us again.


Heavenly Time experienced in Heaven doing Heavenly things would presumably feel the same as Time does here. But Heavenly inhabitants that have jobs to do in relation to mortal life must be good at waiting, must have enormous reserves of patience - they must be far better at waiting and far mare patient than we are.

So much so, that I suppose that - like in Sci-Fi stories of interstellar travel - the Angles concerned with Earth must surely need to go offline, to exist on standby, to lose track of time in a state of 'suspended animation' in order to make the waiting bearable.

In other words, Angels concerned with human events on earth would need to 'sleep' for quite long periods, or more likely to lose self-awareness and awareness of time, perhaps in in some kind of blissful 'living-in-the-moment' contemplation.



Adam G. said...

*The opposite notion, that a long human life is a mere eye-blink for an Angelic being, would seem to trivialize, and make pointless human incarnate life - but that surely cannot be correct! *

I don't think this follows. There is no need to privilege the angelic perspective here. Basically, the amount of subjective time that something takes doesn't correlate with how important it is.

Leo said...

The importance of something is not determined by its duration, but rather by its consequences. One's death can happen in a mere instant, but most people would agree that the event is both serious and important, and a lingering death is not necessarily more important. It is just longer. Indeed, most of us would prefer it not linger too long.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Adam and Leo - On the other hand,it would not be possible for Angels to *help* with events on earth, such as a human life, if mortal life passed in what was subjectively to the angel an instant (e.g. so that a month of earthly life felt like 0.1 seconds to an angel).

My assumption is that angelic time runs differently from mortal time, and I can't see that *that* could be the difference.

Leo said...

Time is somewhat a mystery to me. It could slow up or speed up, and sometimes it feels like that.

Is time really just sequence?